Jackdaws and Orchids on the Lots

Hagg Wood – Silverdale Green – Stankelt Road – The Lots – The Cove

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A much more modest wander, this one, before a social event in Grange with TBH and a whole host of other people.

A small herd of cows on The Lots were seemingly a magnet for birds – as I approached several Starlings, a Magpie and a few Jackdaws all winged away from the sward around the cows. But two of the Jackdaws were less perturbed by my presence and continued to strut about between the apparently oblivious cows like a couple of minor officials puffed up with the importance of their office.

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Early Purple Orchids on The Lots.

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Shelduck on the bay, near The Cove.

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This Oystercatcher seems to have had a minor prang – the end of its beak looks like it needs remodelling.

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Cut flowers, by the benches above The Cove.

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An act of remembrance?

These benches are, for much of the year at least, a fabulous place to sit and watch the sunset and I’m sure that they are a favourite spot for a lot of people. Although, admittedly, I rarely come across anyone sitting there, I have, from time to time, had some memorable conversations here whilst watching the sun drop into the sea.

Jackdaws and Orchids on the Lots

The Late Show

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When I returned from my stroll by the Bela I wasn’t going out again. I had things to do. Important things. Household chores and work and stuff. But the low sun was painting the trees gold with dark eastern skies behind.

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So – another quick wander. I headed east first, towards Hagg Wood, but then turned down Bottom’s Lane and then back along Cove Road towards the coast.

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Female Blackbird.

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Hagg Wood.

I bumped into the Tower Captain, out walking his dogs, and he guessed, correctly, that I was sunset hunting.

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The night before I had been walking without my camera, thinking that the mass of cloud meant that the sunset wouldn’t be up to much. I was wrong, it was quite spectacular.

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But not up to the show that the skies put on this evening.

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The clouds which provided the drama were also bringing rain, although the rain never made it to me, and a faint rainbow apparently arcing down directly onto our house.

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Well worth another trip out.

The Late Show

Bowland Bronzed

Castlebarrow – The Cove – The Lots – Spring Bank

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A very short walk this one, memorable for two reasons, firstly the perfect timing which saw me arrive by the Pepperpot just as the low sun burnished the Bowland Fells with a glorious bronze light.

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It was very fleeting, lasting long enough for me to take a couple of snaps, then it was gone. The photographs don’t begin to do it justice – the colour was amazing, I can’t think that I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.

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The second notable feature of the evening was the sunset, witnessed through April showers of snow and hail.

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I wouldn’t generally consider hail as ‘A Good Thing’ but this was surprisingly gentle and serene and quite out of the ordinary, so that I found myself enjoying it, despite my misgivings.

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Yet another sunset over Morecambe Bay, but somehow they are always a bit different.

Bowland Bronzed

A Saturday Triptych – Third Time Lucky

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After tea (the ham and pease pudding were very good, in case you were wondering) I wanted to head out again. I’d been out too early to ask anyone too accompany me in the morning, and had no luck persuading any of the family to join me in the afternoon, but for my evening constitutional, Little S took pity on me and came along for a stroll. Here we are at The Cove. Well, here he is, just about visible, clambering up the rocks to the left of the smelly cave.

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I’d told him that the usually muddy surface of the Bay was firm and sandy and he was keen for a wander across. In fact, once we were on the sands, he got quite carried away and suggested following the coast down to Jack Scout. I thought that was an excellent idea, but in the interests of fairness, felt duty bound to tell him that such a walk would take a while and might interfere with his plans to watch the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, at which point he backtracked hastily and opined that we should take the shortest possible route back through the village. So we did.

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Good to be out again, though, flying a kite or otherwise.

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I needed to be back myself, since I was going to The Village Institute, to see Lancaster band ‘The Metermen’ who play hammond organ centred funk, mostly covers of tunes by the Meters, but also the MG’s, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Smith etc. This was the second time I’d seen them, and I knew that I would enjoy it.

I can’t find any Metermen performances online, but they covered a Cooking On 3 Burners tune, who, in turn, are responsible for this rather marvellous cover…

A Saturday Triptych – Third Time Lucky

Walking and Gawking

Eaves Wood – The Row – Bottom’s Lane – The Green – Stankelt Lane – The Lots – The Cove – Elmslack Lane

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Cherry Blossom.

The forecast was poor, but the rain was meant to stop eventually, late in the afternoon. It didn’t, but then just when it seemed set in for the entire day it suddenly both stopped raining and brightened up, leaving dramatic dark skies to the east, but sunshine overhead.

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Honesty.

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I headed up the Coronation Path (bought in 1953 by the village to give access to Eaves Wood) knowing that I would gain height with a view of those glowering clouds.

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The sun was low filtering through the trees and lighting the new Beech leaves…

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From Castlebarrow, looking over the village, I could see the hills of the Forest of Bowland were still shrouded in a layer of cloud.

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But that it was slightly brighter out over the bay…

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A Robin was serenading me from the top of a Yew tree level with the crag…

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Beech leaves in a rut, Andy Goldsworthy style?

Most of these photos were taken in the early part of the walk. After that the light was generally too poor. When I’d asked TBH to lend me her phone so that I could monitor my mileage, A had very kindly offered me hers instead, but insisted that I use a different App which she assured me was ‘better’ in some unspecified way.

This turned out to mean that the phone, rather disconcertingly, announced aloud, every kilometre, my average speed, split times, distance etc. It took me a bit by surprise the first time, to be spoken to in an American accent whilst I was ostensibly alone in the woods. It was no real surprise, on the other hand, to discover that my speed increases significantly when I stop taking photos.

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After my almost obligatory visit to The Lots and The Cove I walked past a friend’s house and discovered him having a quiet smoke on his front step. Twenty minutes later as we sat chewing the fat over a cup of tea in his kitchen, A’s phone piped up to deliver very disappointing news about my current speed and split time.

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Must try harder obviously!

Walking and Gawking

Very Little and Decidedly Often

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A long time ago, when I could hold these things in my head, or thought I could, I kept a sort of league table of hills ranked by the number of times I’d climbed them. Glyder Fach topped the table, due to the fact that it was one ahead of Glyder Fawr; I usually climbed them together, but had once descended Y Gribin after an ascent via Tryfan. In retrospect however, I must have been excluding, or at least overlooking, the hills of the Peak District many of which were much more familiar to me then than the mountains of Snowdonia or the Lake District. Anyway, I was rather pleased with what seemed to me to be my special connection with this fine mountain and I began to consider it as something of a favourite.

So, in a more modest way, if voting with your feet is any way to judge, then the walk during which I took these photos must be my favourite. It’s a short stroll – clocking-in at just over a mile and a half, I’ve recently discovered – taking in the The Cove and The Lots and, in this simplest version, returning via the centre of the village, usually incorporating a stop to do a bit of grocery shopping.

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Although oft repeated and very familiar, it never loses its lustre, because there’s always something new to see. This, for example, is a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum). I’m reasonably confident of that because apparently the ginger thorax and white tail is distinctive of this species. I spotted it on a Flowering Currant in a garden on Townsfield (which name, rather confusingly, refers both to a field and to the street alongside it).

“B. hypnorum has a natural distribution in Mainland Europe, through Asia and up to the Arctic Circle. It was first found in the UK in 2001, in Wiltshire; but must have arrived from Mainland Europe. It has spread rapidly and is now present in most of England and much of Wales, where it can be very common in late spring to early summer. In 2013 it reached southern Scotland. Much of it’s rapid spread is probably due to it’s habit of setting up home in Bird Boxes, which abound in the UK.”

Source

This was quite a large bee and I wonder whether it might have been a queen?

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Black-headed gulls?

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Because I’ve been visiting The Cove on an almost daily basis I’ve become very familiar with the Shelduck who are ubiquitous on the edges of the Bay at the moment.

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Very Little and Decidedly Often

Homework – About Silverdale

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The George Whittaker Memorial Park.

Little S has Easter holiday homework – to produce a leaflet about the village. His interpretation of that brief was to design a kind of promotional pamphlet: ‘Why You Should Come to Silverdale’. He asked me to accompany him around the village to take some photos to include. Obviously, I was more than happy to do that – this is the kind of homework I like to help with. As a preliminary, I asked him to first draw up a list of places he wanted to visit and a sensible route taking them in.

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It was interesting to see the village from his perspective and the places he chose as important.

Incidentally, the ‘Climbing Tree’…

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…wasn’t on his list, but fell conveniently between the Park and the Pepper Pot…

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…both of which were.

S thought it important to include some places where potential visitors might stay, so we called at Holgates Caravan Park…

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I’d decided that I would be on my best behaviour: I had a photographic assignment to fulfil and wouldn’t be wasting time pursuing my own agenda. But then this singing Goldfinch, just by Cove Road, dented my resolve…

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Our next port of call was The Cove where Little S was far more interested in the smelly cave and the opportunities for climbing on the rocks…

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Than in the view…

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Or any birdwatching prospects…

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Shelduck.

Meanwhile, any good intentions I’d harboured had sunk without trace, foundering on the luscious purple of these Violets…

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…and the surprise of Early Purple Orchids on the Lots…

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When a relatively pale and largish bird flew up from the field into a Horse Chestnut, B asked whether it could be a Kestrel. I must admit that the same idea had crossed my mind, but it was soon apparent that we were wrong. It was a Mistle Thrush…

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We were edging towards the tree, trying to get closer in order to get better photographs. When two Jackdaws landed nearby, I assumed that the Thrush would flee, but not a bit of it…

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More accommodation!

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Gibraltar Farm campsite.

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I noticed these flowers in a copse off Hollins Lane, near to the Wolfhouse Gallery. On a larger photograph (click on the photo to view on flickr) this is unmistakably Cardamine Bulbifera  – there are small black bulbils on the stems, which is how the plant spreads. It prefers calcareous soils, and in this region is probably a garden escapee, although it is endemic to the British Isles. It seems to have several common names: Coralroot, Coralroot Bittercress, Coral-wort.

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“There is a Flower, the lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!”

William Wordsworth

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This was a Celandine sort of day, starting dull but brightening up in the afternoon.

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The path up to the Clifftop.

There were other places on Little S’s list, but with the various distractions we were susceptible to, we’d already managed to make a modest walk of less than five miles drag out to around three hours. We decided to make do with what we’d got and head home for some tea.

Homework – About Silverdale